Project Business Case - Why and How

If there is no business case for a project, or if the business case is not up to the job, there are a number of problems that arise, concerning governance, team empowerment and the use of effective measures:
-          The costs of the project become much more obvious than the benefits, and this means that without the perspective of value for money everything starts to seem expensive.
-          The ‘Return on Investment’ measure, which has been poorly defined, nevertheless attracts disproportionate attention due to the absence of other measures.
-          Generally speaking, easy to measure but less important indicators receive more attention than important but difficult to measure indicators.
-          Contacts between the team, team leaders and management are weakened because the visions, the justification and the strategy for the project are not clearly defined.
-          Team members, who are deprived of access to key information necessary for making the day-to-day decisions, are less empowered and less responsive to project events.
-           Motivation in the team is diluted due to the lack of meaning that would otherwise derive from understanding the greater purpose and vision for the project.
-          Governance of the project relapses and decision makers lose accountability, because the baseline for decision making is neither formalised, nor communicated, nor agreed.
These are some elements to includ in a business case (source APMG Prince2 and Solution Matrix):
Executive Summary (with financial and non-financial benefits and counter-benefits)
Purpose and Context
Scope and Limits,
Assumptions and Constraints, and Methods,
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
Scenarios and Comparisons (with Benefits and Counter-Benefits)
Sensitivity Analysis, Contingency and Risk Analysis
Critical Success Factors
Conclusions and Recommendations : Ian Stokes, Project Leader and Advisor

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